Goa all set to break its own assembly voting percentage record (Roundup)

Panaji, Feb 4 (IANS) Goa, which went to the polls on Saturday to elect a new assembly, is poised to break it own turnout record, with provisional figures released by election authorities indicating approximately 83 per voting, equalling the 2012 state assembly elections, which was the highest then.

Chief Electoral Officer Kunal told reporters that 84 per cent voting was recorded in the North Goa district and South Goa district saw 81 per cent voting in the day-long electoral process, in which no major untoward incident was reported.

Goa has around 11.10 lakh voters, a majority of whom cast their ballot in the 1642 polling stations across the state.

He also said that due to a “technical process” failure at a polling booth in South Goa’s Margao town, the Election Commission had been requested to hold a re-poll there.

“Until 5 p.m., Goa saw nearly 83 per cent voting, which is the same as the 2012 elections. But we are yet to finalize the vote count of some polling booths, from where information is yet to be received. Postal ballots are also yet to be incorporated. So the voting percentage is likely to increase further,” Kunal said. The final voting percentage is expected to be released by poll officials later.

Voting for the 40 assembly seats in Goa started at a slow pace on Saturday morning, with only 15 per cent of the voters casting their ballot in the first two hours, but polling subsequently picked up through the day.

While no untoward incident was reported, Kunal said, that technical glitches like malfunctioning of electronic voting machines, control units and the newly introduced voter-verified paper audit trail machines, caused temporary delay in the voting process.

Panaji resident Leslie Saldanha, 78, died due to cardiac arrest, when he was about to enter a polling staton in the state’s capital’s Mala area.

Most political parties and their candidates expressed confidence of winning a majority, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who cast his vote in the state capital, saying that the BJP would win a two-thirds majority.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar also said that there was no question of anti-incumbency and even spelled out the BJP’s plans for the five years ahead.

“We are sure of coming to power with absolute majority. More emphasis would be laid on jobs, eradication of unemployment will be our top priority,” Parsekar told IANS.A

The AAP, which is making its electoral debut in Goa, also expressed confidence of wining the state assembly polls, with its Chief Ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes ruling out the possibility of a hung assembly.

“There will be no hung assembly. The people will hang them,” he told reporters to a query about possibility of the current lot of legislators coming back to power.

Representatives of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and the Shiv Sena, which had contested the elections in alliance, have also expressed confidence that the high voting percentage would suit their chances of forming a government.

“We will get 22 seats. The BJP will be wiped out in these elections. The high voter turn out proves the people are disgusted with the BJP,” MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar told IANS.A

Manch chief and former state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Subhash Velingkar also said that the BJP was destined to fall in the February 4 polls, because the RSS cadre was not backing it.

“BJP broke all promises it made earlier. Manohar Parrikar is solely responsible for all the tragedies in Goa. I feel absolutely betrayed by Parrikar. The rank and file of RSS is with me. And not a single RSS worker is going to vote for BJP,” he told reporters in Panaji.A

The election also saw Goa earn the credential of being the first state in the country to fully implement the electronically transmitted postal ballot system and the VVPAT technology, which allows voters to verify whether they have voted correctly.

Over 50,000 security personnel and 11,302 civilian government officials were involved in the polling process, Kunal said.

Counting of votes polled on Saturday will be carried out on March 11, along with the other four poll-bound states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur.